The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is claiming another small victory in the never-ending and probably unwinnable war against piracy. Following a series of dawn raids at several business and residential addresses in Lancashire, the fuzz has reportedly brought down a large-scale illegal TV streaming operation. While it's not unusual to hear about the seizure of modified set-top boxes that tap into pirate pay-TV streams, officers have landed themselves a much bigger fish this time around, also discovering 15 satellites and recovering over 30 servers.
"Our action today will disrupt what we understand to be a significant and highly resourced operation to distribute pirated television on an industrial scale to tens of thousands of people across the globe," Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe said. As a result of the sting, three men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences.
According to the police, the group is believed to have been transmitting hundreds of subscription-only channels to set-top boxes advertised as legitimate and sold online for a yearly fee of roughly £400. TorrentFreak has done some digging of its own, and while not naming who it believes to be responsible, says the operation has been going for a number of years and was primarily targeted at the ex-pat community. With those ex-pats now underserved, we expect the cycle to continue as it typically does -- one police bust simply being another pirate's opportunity.
[Server image credit: City of London Police]